2018 Ontario Public Library Service Awards Short List Nominees

The 2018 short list nominees for the Minister’s Award for Innovation and the Angus Mowat Award of Excellence are:

Arnprior Public Library

Music of Your Life (Music and Memory Program)

The Arnprior Public Library launched one of the first Music and Memory Programs in Canada connecting a public library to residents of a local nursing home. "The Music of Your Life" project is an ambitious effort launched in June 2016. It involved not only community awareness and fundraising but also volunteer support to become a dynamic, full circle, intergenerational community effort. In the past two years, personalized play lists - as individual as each recipient - have brought joy to countless seniors living at home and in care facilities.

Bkejwanong First Nation Public Library

Bkejwanong Library Loves Literacy

Bkejwanong Library respects the community it serves, consistently promotes literacy in all its many guises – storytelling, plays, music, history/genealogy, writing, reading – supporting life-long learning beginning at 0+ months, continuing through school-age children and youth to community Elders. Literacy is highly correlated with academic success; hence, all children’s programs involve high-interest books with activities which extend learning. Adult programs focus on Genealogy/History/Language and quilting, while Family programming involves movie nights and music. Networking and partnerships [schools, community departments, colleges] are critical.

Georgina Public Library

Georgina Fan Fest

For the past 3 years, the Georgina Public Library and its community partners have run Georgina FanFest, a free "comic-con for families" that is dedicated to novels, graphic novels, comics, film, television, video games, fan culture, and other related pop art forms. Its goal is to honour and celebrate the historic and ongoing contribution of fandom to literacy, art, and culture.

Grey Highlands Public Library

Grey Highlands Cultural Channel

This project celebrates how a small, rural public library system collaborated with community partners and successfully launched an innovative Cultural TV and YouTube Channels that celebrates, promotes, and preserves the unique cultural and historical assets of Grey Highlands. The project has had a tremendous local response, has engaged the community, and has provided opportunities for individuals and groups to share, connect, and engage in: developing audio-video content, direct access to storytelling opportunities, and active curation of local history and culture.

Halton Hills Public Library

Virtual Reality Outreach Project: Meet Them Where They Are

The Halton Hills Public Library has launched an innovative virtual reality outreach program to improve the ability of youth and older adult residents to access digital resources. This initiative brought library services to isolated individuals facing barriers due to physical, medical, and economic conditions. The impact for the library and community members has been greater equity in access to digital resources, more engagement with the library's traditionally underserved demographics, and the recognition of the library as a valuable resource in the community.

Kitchener Public Library

Regional Cancer Centre Resource Partnership

In partnership with the Kitchener Public Library, Grand River Regional Cancer Centre created a safe and welcoming resource centre imbedded in the hospital to provide knowledgeable service and credible information directly to people experiencing cancer treatment and their families. Combining the core competencies from each organization, the Centre delivers exceptional personalized service to cancer patients and their families, from information relating to their specific cancer and treatment, to recommendations for leisure materials to help them through their journey.

Orillia Public Library

Remembrance Day Interactive Exhibit

For the past five years the Orillia Public Library has partnered with local collectors and museums to host the Remembrance Day Interactive Exhibit. Through an interactive animated exhibit, featuring artifacts, biographical portraits, and costumed interpreters, students from elementary through high school learn about the individual contributions citizens of Orillia, surrounding townships and the members of the indigenous community made in the past wars and military conflicts from World War 1 to present day conflicts

Ottawa Public Library

Innovation in eBook Services for Public Libraries

This initiative enables the library to offer bestsellers on demand from an eBook platform, with improved access and fiscal sustainability in a time of exorbitant pricing for library eBook licensing.

In 2017, Ottawa Public Library became the first Canadian public library to launch an Express eBook platform dedicated to offering bestsellers with no hold queues and a shortened loan period. This replicates our physical collection of popular and bestselling titles that are first come, first serve.

Prices and licensing models of eBooks continue to be a significant challenge for libraries. All the big publishers allow libraries to purchase eBooks through licensed platforms, but little has been achieved in terms of lowering prices or offering more flexible licensing models. Looking at new and innovative ways libraries can increase access to eBooks, foster competition in the eBook marketplace and improve fiscal sustainability are critical for the long-term success of library collections.

Previously, no eBook vendor supported or considered either a dual loan model or a short-term loan model. Competition in the eBook vendor marketplace was also very limited. This OPL project demonstrates the feasibility of the Express model and the ability to offer more than one loan model. It also met the library’s objective to see more competition between vendors.

Pickering Public Library

Pickering Public Library Connect

Pickering Public Library Connect had a significant impact on the perception of the public library as an essential partner in bridging the digital divide in the community by providing equitable and convenient access to internet resources and training and ensuring that all members of the community are able to effectively participate in a 21st century economy.

Pickering Public Library

Building a Learning Organization: A Foundation for 21st Century Library Service Excellence

Becoming a learning organization has been transformative for the Pickering Library and has allowed the Library to respond quickly and effectively to community needs with service excellence and innovation. Recognizing this Learning Organization Project should serve to publicize an organizational practice that could transform other public libraries in Ontario.

Region of Waterloo Public Library

Pop-Up Library Project

The Pop-Up Library Project successfully delivers library essentials to under-serviced areas of Waterloo Region in a new and innovative way. RWL's weekly Pop-Up locations offer browsing, hold pick-up, reference, readers' advisory, programming, and tech tutoring to communities that do not have physical library space. By using local community center spaces, RWL is able to deliver a branch-like experience to local neighborhoods.

Simcoe County Public Library

Simcoe County Libraries Immigrant Hub

The Simcoe County Libraries Immigrant Hub Project is an innovative project designed to strengthen the capacity of libraries to create vibrant, diverse and welcoming communities. It's a timely project, responsive to the rapidly changing demographics and cultural, educational, social and economic needs of immigrants. Its objectives include staff training, multilingual collection development, program provision and cultivation of significant sustainable partnerships. The project's strength is its ability to be replicated elsewhere. Its accomplishments include the reduction of immigrant isolation and increased inclusivity, acceptance and understanding of immigrants in the communities.

Temiskaming Shores Public Library

Valuing Northern Libraries Project

The Valuing Northern Libraries Project provides a new and innovative way for libraries to measure their impact in their communities, creating a tool for both the evaluation of library services and library advocacy. This toolkit is an innovative approach to a return on investment study as it allows small, rural, Northern and First Nation libraries, who may otherwise have been unable to afford consultant fees, to complete return on investment studies independently. This project affirms that libraries are a valuable contributor to the culture, wellness and economy of every community.

Vaughan Public Libraries

Customer Experience Model

The Customer Experience Model embraces the best practices of customer service into one framework that empowers staff to take customer service to the next level. The model includes 6 key service concepts: Hospitality, Customer Service, Frontline Advocacy, Customer Empowerment, Merchandising, and WOW Moments. In 2017, more than 200 staff were recognized for creating and capturing WOW Moments across VPL.

Wasaga Beach Public Library

Connect with Seniors

Wasaga Beach Public Library’s Connect with Seniors project has proven that a small library can have a big impact on a small town’s older adult population. The project was created to boost the well-being of local seniors through multi-faceted programming that promotes social inclusion, lifelong learning and community engagement. The seniors-centric initiative not only brings older adults together, it also takes them away to out-of-town cultural attractions. The library has established itself as a leader in local seniors’ services and continues to pursue even more opportunities.

Whitby Public Library

Whitby Comic Arts Festival (WhitCAF)

The creation of WhitCAF truly was borne from community connections: Whitby-based comic book writer J. Torres (Brobots, Mighty Zodiac, Teen Titans Go!) approached the Whitby Library about the possibility of creating a comic book festival. After some consideration, the Whitby Library made the decision to go ahead with the project due to increasing popularity of comic book-themed media, such as films and TV shows, and the demonstrated demand patrons have for the Whitby Library’s graphic novels. Further, the emphasis on engaging the local business community was seen to be a unique aspect for WhitCAF and an audience that the Library wanted to support in the community. To ensure that the project had measurable outcomes, the WhitCAF planning committee developed goals and objectives for the festival, which aligned closely with the Library’s overarching strategic plan.

Whitestone Hagerman Public Library

Grandmas on Loan

The ‘Grandmas on Loan’ program invited seniors to act as mentors to children in the community, participating in fun and interactive experiences. This program supported the social participation and inclusion of seniors and encouraged them to share their skills with the youngest community members. The program was free to participants, removing any financial barrier. It also resulted in new members (both seniors and children), new volunteers, and helped fill a void for some seniors who live far from their grandchildren and vice versa. The community has a number of people who are socially isolated, particularly in the winter months. This project helped bring the community together.